3. The growing number of uncompensated tasks
Doctors are spending too much time during their day on uncompensated tasks. As much as 20% of the workday is spent grinding through tasks such as prior authorizations, EHR data entry and non-clinical paperwork. This busywork costs physicians at least $50,000 in lost revenue annually, says Joseph Valenti, MD, a board member of the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for practicing physicians.
It’s impossible to entirely eliminate uncompensated tasks from the daily schedule, but practices can minimize the disruptions they cause and redirect physician efforts toward revenue-generating work. Consider these solutions to common problems related to uncompensated care.
Problem: Non-clinical tasks
Solution: Physicians should avoid tasks that do not require a medical license. Physicians who find themselves performing non-clinical tasks, such as answering phones, should delegate these to non-clinical staff members. “What we’ve found is that physicians who are better at delegating unlicensed tasks to others are the ones who tend to have the highest net incomes,” says Keith C. Borglum, CHBC, a healthcare consultant.
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Problem: EHR documentation
Solution: Nitin Damle, MD, an internist at a small practice in Rhode Island, takes notes on a paper form during a patient encounter. Staff members enter the notes in the EHR afterwards. This adds to overhead costs as it requires additional staff, but Borglum argues that it can increase revenue by freeing up physicians to see more patients.
Problem: Family conferences
Solution: Physicians often spend uncompensated time addressing requests and questions from family members. Jeffrey Kagan, MD, an internal medicine physician and member of the Medical Economics Editorial Advisory Board, says it’s important to do this, but taking phone calls and responding to emails may not be the most efficient method. At his Newington, Connecticut-based practice, he asks families to accompany the patient to appointments. When the patient is present, he can bill for the time he spends talking with family members.
For more solutions on reducing uncompensated time, visit bit.ly/18-uncompensated-time